Happy Heroes day ladies, gentlemen and others! It is 9th June, and in Uganda, we shall be unfortunately subjected to the annual rhetoric of celebrating ‘national’ heroes. I appreciate the premise of the concept, but have never understood the conclusions. I think what was meant to be a noble idea has been turned into a fickle opportunity for the country’s president to show self and pretend to care about the people that have been selfless to this country. Yes, I am a bitter Ugandan girl. But I digress. It is heroes day. It is a good day. We celebrate very good people. And today I celebrate me. Today my hero is ME! Yes. ME!
I know we are taught, from an early age, to not blow our own trumpets. The whole idea has never made sense to me. It is my trumpet. Why in the world would I want the world’s spittle all over it? Why own a trumpet I can’t blow? I wouldn’t want other people’s trumpets in my mouth! Let everyone keep and blow their trumpets, please! Again, I digress. The reason I keep twirling around in triangles is because it is hard to tell my story. I don’t think I have the confidence or the strength. But I guess I do have to blow that trumpet after all. So here goes…I am extremely awesome. I am extremely strong. I am extremely amazing.
All of us have had our fair share of crappy shitty shit in our lives. Whichever form that might have been. Those moments that make you question everything about life and whether or not we overrate it. For some people, it is easy to dust themselves, get up and move. For others, like me, the struggle is harder. I am a depressive. If you are one, you know what I am talking about. And I am not talking about the depression that is usually used loosely and in fancy contexts. I am talking the real, raw, and destructive depression. In a country like ours, where suffering from mental illnesses like depression is a luxury, going through life, day by day, without completely going insane is quite the task. Life is full of anguish and full of pain. Every breath, everyday you wake up is a labour. Death seems like a way out. Other people’s laughter and smiles smell of poisoned vinegar. You just cannot deal. It is a bad place. And you cannot even talk to someone about it. It is not easy. It is embarrassing…or so we think.
At the time I suffered from depression, I was a lost kid. I was a teenager, with not much to live for. Out of school, no home, no friends, and almost no family. That period was bad. There are days I would walk the whole night, waiting for daybreak, because I couldn’t get a verandah to lay on. The details are messy and need fits of strength to put out there. What I know is that I managed to get out of that hole, and I am where I am today. It took help from friends, strangers and some family to get me back up, but most importantly, it took strength from me. I didn’t give up. I fought on even when I got to the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it seemed pointless but somehow I soldiered on. And here I am.
So allow me to celebrate me. The person I have become. The battles I have won. I might not be where I want to be, but I am sure as hell far from where I used to be. I managed the worst part of my depression and my crisis. I can smile. I can laugh genuinely. I can love genuinely. I can live normally. I still see the un-forgiving faces of those men, the rotten floors of those trenches and the flooded house. I can still feel the cold floors and the fresh sting of tried tears. But I look back on them with pride. Pride that I overcame. And that I came out a winner.
I can’t believe I am going to publish this. But I guess it is high time I celebrated myself. Happy heroes day to me! And to the friends, family and strangers that have been part of this journey, I may not say it enough or never say it at all, but you are awesome. And I owe you much much much. To my parents, wherever you are, smile!